I was lucky enough to make my first travel overseas when I was 14 when I went to visit my Aunt in Italy. Since that time I have had the travel bug and have been going place ever since and have met and talked to many people who were traveling overseas for there first time.
On a first overseas travel, I would advise that you go for any where between 7 – 10 days. Any shorter and it’ll feel like you never left and any longer, you may start feeling a little home sick and will be ready to get back.
Lets take a closer look at what is involved in traveling overseas for your first time.
Deciding Where To Travel
Fist things first, you need to decide where you want to go. My recommendation would be to go to Europe and preferably to a country that speaks your native language.
The reason this is that although it in not an absolute, traveling to a country that speaks your first language makes things easier and is one less thing to be concerned about on your first trip abroad.
As far as the destination of Europe, the reason I recommend going here for your first trip is because its similar (yet different) to the United States ( who I am gearing this article to ), it set up for travelers and easy to travel around.
I would then look into going to England, Ireland or maybe even Scotland first. These are 3 great countries two visit regardless of whether this your first trip abroad or your 20th as they are easy to get around and are a great first experience for any traveler.
If you decide to choose another area of the world to travel to, you should check to see if there are any travel advisories or warnings for the at destination. If there are, I would not recommend going to there, at least for your first trip abroad.
With that said, I will try to give you my best advice that I have accumulated over the years for those travelling abroad for your first time.
Getting Your First Passport
After you choose your destination, you will then need to get your passport and if you are applying for a United States Passport you can apply online by going to the Department of State website
If you want to take it one step further you can also register with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) or your home country’s equivalent. That way, they’ll know to get in touch with you in the case of a natural disaster, political unrest, or another emergency.
Finding Airfare For Overseas Travel
Once you have applied for your passport then you are going to want to search for the best airfare to your chosen destination. There are a lot of websites out there to choose from and of course I would like you to try at least the one here on this site to find and compare the best rates available.
I would also recommend that you try to find a flight that arrives during the day. I always preferred to land at my destination at this time I found it was easier to get acclimated to my destination then arriving at night when the look and feel of a place is a lot different.
Travel Insurance for Your First Trip
Once you have your flight, I would then go ahead and get travel insurance. You probably be offered this when you getting your tickets but, as with airfare, the prices on travel insurance vary greatly, depending on what company you use and what insurance you get. Try to use a comparison website like TravelProtectInternational.com or similar.
When looking for travel insurance, look into having medical insurance and/or cancel for any reason included. These two coverages will be of invaluable help you should anything happen either before you leave or while you are travelling.
Vaccinations and Prescriptions for Overseas Travel
Make sure these are both up to date and that you have enough medication, if not a little more, to get you through the time you are on your trip.
If you are taking a prescription that may be illegal in the country you are travelling to, make sure you have a note from your doctor validating the prescription.
Travel Documents for Overseas Trips
Once you get your passport, whether in person or through the mail, make a copy of it and put it somewhere you will have access to it should you need it while you are traveling.
I would recommend putting it up in the cloud so you can get it at anytime and not have to be concerned about losing it somewhere along the way.
The reason for doing this is, should you lose your passport while travelling, you can always print out a copy to have with you and it’ll make it easier for you to get a another passport when you have to go to the local consulate to get an “emergency” passport.
At the same time you make a copy of your passport, you should also do the same for your credit cards in case you lose them. Again, it will be easier when you call your credit card company to cancel them and have new ones issued.
Speaking of credit cards, before you go, you should call the credit card companies and let them know where you are going and when you will there so they don’t block your cards due to suspicious activity.
This is important on your first trip overseas as most credit card companies will block your cards immediately if they see a charge that comes suddenly from outside your home country if you do not let them know ahead of time.
Using a Cell Phone Overseas
You need to be careful here and this could get very expensive if you are not careful. First thing you should do when you get to your destination is to turn off the roaming option on your phone.
If you keep it on, its going to be expensive and you won’t know this until its too late.
You should also call your phone company and let them know where you are going. They may also be able to offer you a special rate for any calls you make or receive while you are travelling and they won’t text or call you about what they perceive as suspicious activity on your phone.
You can also get a SIM card for that country which you can use in your phone. If you go this route you can have your regular phone number forwarded here so you don’t miss anyone calling you.
Finding Hotels and AirBnb
For your first trip overseas, I would recommend that you pre-book your hotel ( or Airbnb) and Transfers. Its a lot easier when you arrive at your destination of choice to have someone waiting for you when you come outside customs and into the airport waiting area, that can pick you up and take you to your hotel.
just avoids a lot of stress of looking around to find out how to get to your hotel after a long flight and you are now in a new country where things will be different then what you are used to. Sometimes the hotel that you decide to stay at will have a transfer service or be able to set it up for you. If not then you can do a search for transfer companies from your arrival airport.
Money and Overseas Travel
When you are at the airport whether, your arriving or departing, you will see places where you can change money.
I have never changed money at these place and I don’t recommend that you do either as the exchange rate that you get at these stores is awful. You should change money once you get to your hotel or AirBnb as their should be able to change it there or direct you to an ATM where take out some local currency.
Valuables and Travel Overseas
I would leave any expensive jewelry, earrings, watches or necklaces at home. When you are on vacation especially your first overseas vacation, you should not take anything that is showy.
is not need to bring any unwanted attention to your self or by leaving it somewhere along the way. You will only be gone a short time and you put it all back on once you get back home.
I hope you find these tips helpful and remember the whole point of going on your first overseas adventure is to enjoy yourself and by following some or all of these pointers you will less to worry about you will be able to sit back and have the trip of a lifetime.